House Democrats block consideration of bill sanctioning Hamas financial supporters
The bill would impose sanctions on foreign entities known to have provided assistant to Hamas
House Democrats rejected a Republican push on Tuesday to consider legislation that would apply sanctions on Hamas militants amid an escalating military conflict with Israel.
Democrats blocked a bid to bring the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act up for consideration in a 217-209 vote along party lines. The bill, introduced by Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., would impose sanctions on foreign entities known to have provided financial assistance to Hamas, among other measures.
"Under my bill the United States will sanction these groups that are supporting terrorism," Mast said in a floor speech in support of the legislation. "Or if we do not pass this bill, we will not stand together to sanction these groups that are enabling this terrorism."
Mast was reintroducing the bill, which had passed the House unanimously in 2019 but was not taken up for a vote in the Senate. Republicans Tuesday brought the bill up for consideration through a procedure known as the previous question, which functions as a call to end debate on a measure and bring it up for an immediate vote.
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Prior to the vote, Mast’s bill drew support from prominent Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Mast had previously penned a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Gregory Meeks to expedite a vote on the bill.
"The ongoing rocket attacks against Israeli civilians show why America must unequivocally support Israel, condemn Hamas, and sanction those who fund terrorism," McCarthy wrote on Twitter.
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The Biden administration has faced intense pressure from lawmakers on its response to the crisis. Prominent Democrats, including Pelosi, have called for a cease-fire, while progressives such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have criticized Biden for not speaking against the Israeli government’s actions.
Meanwhile, Republicans have pressed Biden to affirm U.S. support for the Israeli government. A group of Senate Republicans led by Sen. Rick Scott of Florida drafted a resolution affirming Israel’s "right to defend itself against terrorist attacks."